Icelanders continue to react by the case of a man who took his own life after newspaper DV published his name and photo on their front page with allegations that he had raped teenage boys (See Daily News, January 11 and 12). There were further developments in the case on Thursday and on Friday morning:
· Jónas Kristjánsson and Mikael Torfason, both top editors at DV, resigned from the paper this morning. The board of Dagsbrún meets today to discuss the future of the newspaper.
· The police investigation into the allegations of rape, which was at its initial stage, automatically stopped with the death of the man.
· One of the individuals who had accused the deceased of rape and another one who was about to do so, both told television show Kastljósid that while they did not want people to forget who had been the victims in this case, they did not support DV’s reporting. One of the men stated that he had repeatedly tried to ask the paper to refrain from publishing its report.
· Millionaire entrepreneurs Björgólfur Gudmundsson and his son Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson own a small share in Dagsbrún, the mother company of media-giant 365, which runs DV, Fréttabladid, and the news-TV and internet station NFS. They have twice requested to buy DV with the sole intention of stopping its publication. The newspaper DV had published photos of Björgólfur Thor’s infant son and written articles about a previous marriage of his mother, Björgólfur Gudmundsson wife. A spokesperson for Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson has said that this wish is not only because DV has published reports about his family, which could harm his image, but also because he condemns the whole editorial policy of the paper.
· Guðrún Jónsdóttir of Stígamót, an organization to help those who have suffered from sexual abuse or domestic violence, is concerned that the consequences of DV’s reporting will lead to victims becoming more afraid to seek help and justice.
· The board of the Advertisers’ Union in Iceland has declared that ads in DV will only harm clients and has suggested that advertisers cease all ads in DV until the ethical code of DV has been modified to be in line with code of the Journalists Union in Iceland. The DV code of ethics’ primary premise is that “truth should always be told,” even if it may hurt someone, and that the ‘naming and shaming’ of people is in order and indeed necessary for truthful reporting.
· Sigurdur Kári Kristjánsson, an MP for the right-wing Independence Party which is in coalition with the centrist Progressive Party, has put together a bill which would increase the right of protection of the individual, e.g. by increasing damages in libel cases, so that they would “seriously” hurt the accused party, if found guilty.
· Over 30,000 people (more than 10% of the country’s population) have signed an online petition where the staff of DV is asked to change their editorial policy and show more consideration for the feelings of those involved in their coverage.
From reports in Morgunbladid, RÚV and NFS.